The Rita Wilson Prize Fund in support of Innovation and Entrepreneurship is a $10,000 cash prize awarded to the best student-led venture focused on creating a technological solution to address a health disparity in the United States.
The Wilson Prize was created in 2019 with a generous gift to the Yale School of Public Health. The gift is managed by InnovateHealth Yale based at the Yale School of Public Health.
William Crawford is an experienced leader in the healthcare and technology industries who works closely with early, middle, and late-stage companies to drive product, regulatory, team building, go-to-market, and technology strategies.
During his 25-year career, he has been at the forefront of everything from the interactive web (as the CTO of a pioneering SaaS company and author of several seminal books on web development), to patient control of personal health data, to wearable technologies (as an early investor and then executive at Fitbit) to healthcare IoT (as the Chief Product Officer of SmartSense by Digi) and distributed high-acuity care, as the first CTO and software product leader at Medically Home, where he and his team built the first technology platform to enable high-acuity, decentralized healthcare at scale, and launched it with several leading health systems during the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, Medically Home’s platform is at the core of some of the largest, most successful hospital-at-home programs in the country. As an investor and advisor, he has supported several successful startups in healthcare and life sciences technology, focusing on healthcare operations, decentralized clinical trials, and remote care delivery.
Mr. Crawford resides in Boston, MA, with his wife Catharine, a surgeon, and their three cats, who are obligate carnivores. He holds an undergraduate degree in Economics and History from Yale University, an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and an MS from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology’s Biomedical Enterprise Program.
Sam Hayek is a mechanical engineer, banker, organizational consultant, and coach. He pursued a career in finance, having earned an MBA from The Wharton School. As a banker, Mr. Hayek led professional teams focused on financing and advising corporate and government clients throughout the United States, Canada, Western Europe, and South America. In addition to leading a structured finance consultancy team, he oversaw numerous business improvement and data/information management projects. In 2010 Sam Hayek pursued a career transition into organizational coaching and consulting. His practice focused on leadership and collaboration across cultures, as well as business improvement and organizational agility in light of technological shifts and accelerating product life cycles. He also earned a certification in career and personal coaching from NYU.
Billy Huang is a biologist-turned-entrepreneur born and raised in New York City. Growing up in a low-income and first-generation household and as a person with a disability, he is passionate about addressing intersectional issues related to poverty, health, and access to economic opportunity. Most recently, Billy created a startup based on improving social determinants of health, emphasizing housing and homelessness. Through his startup, Source Development Hub, Billy has had the opportunity to work with multiple regional and national nonprofit organizations, including the Urban Institute and Corporation for Supportive Housing, on projects mapping affordable housing throughout Connecticut. His current projects include the development of a housing marketplace specifically tailored for low-and-moderate income renters with partners in both the nonprofit and real estate industries.
Additionally, Billy is a current Governor’s Fellow with the Connecticut Office of Workforce Strategy (OWS), where he works on a diverse portfolio of projects related to workforce development. His current OWS work ranges from leading the legislative agenda to designing various workforce-related loan programs to guiding data and sustainability/infrastructure strategies.
In a research capacity, Billy has also collaborated with researchers at Yale and Rutgers on studies at the intersections between technology, mental health, and homelessness. He is additionally collaborating with MIT Solve, a social innovation marketplace, as a data consultant to develop models for analyzing the impact of Solve on the success of their global venture teams.
Complementing his professional work, Billy advocates for disability rights at the municipal level by chairing the New Haven Commission on Disabilities, where he has been working on legislation to improve citywide elevator ordinances, and at the national level through the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation, where he has consulted on multiple patient-centered outcomes research studies.
He holds Bachelor’s degrees in biology and history from MIT and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.
Song Kim is Co-Founder and CEO of KovaDx, a startup working to increase access to quality care for people living with rare blood diseases affecting communities of color, where she leads commercial strategy, partnerships, and fundraising. Song spent her career as a civil rights lawyer amplifying the voices of immigrant workers through litigation, direct services, and policy advocacy throughout the U.S. She has built programs to increase access to legal services for marginalized communities, and brings expertise in strategic partnerships, navigating complex local and international systems, and community-centric programs to KovaDx. Song has also worked in Seoul, Korea, and Kolkata, India, in politics and human rights. Song received her MBA from the Yale School of Management, JD from NYU School of Law, and BA in Sociology from USC.
Marina Marmolejo, MPH, is an anti-poverty advocate that is changing how we engage with communities experiencing housing insecurity. Marina graduated from the Yale School of Public Health in 2019 and since then has founded DreamKit, an app that supports youth experiencing homelessness by gamifying the learning process of employment-based skills and paying youth for their progress. Marina is also the strategist for UniteCT, which is the Department of Housing's first fully online emergency rental assistance application that includes $420+ million dollars to support tenants impacted by COVID-19. Marina sees the power of technology, real-time data, and human-centered design to create sustainable solutions for vulnerable yet incredibly resilient populations.
Travis Whitfill is a serial biotech entrepreneur and venture capitalist. Travis is a Partner at Bios Partners, which is a life science-focused venture capital firm in Texas with over $350 million in assets under management. He sits on the board of five portfolio companies, including IN8bio (NASDAQ: INAB), Azitra Inc., SIRPant Immunotherapeutics, Immusoft Corporation (observer), and 410 Medical, Inc. (observer). He has co-founded several biotech and healthcare startup companies, including Azitra Inc., which is a mid-clinical stage medical dermatology company. He’s also the Senior Analyst at Bios Research, which brings experience in public markets, and drug development to support its venture capital investments. He also is an Assistant Professor Adjunct in the Departments of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at Yale University. Mr. Whitfill has led numerous grant-funded projects, holds nearly a dozen patents, and has co-authored over 50 publications. Mr. Whitfill received degrees from Yale University (MPH), University College London (MPhil), and Dallas Baptist University (BS), and is finishing a PhD from University College London in innovation and economics.